August 23, 2021

EPIC FAIL #9 - Have a plan to replace your doctor?


A pioneer of hospice and palliative care

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Roger Woodruff, a founder of the international hospice and palliative care movement. Dr. Roger was not only a generous supporter of my work relating to advance care planning, he was always there for me when I had a question, needed to vent or wanted his feedback on a news item that seemed "off." The lengthy emails between my Aussie friend and me are a treasure, as we felt free to "rant" to each other, as he put it.

What an inspiring legacy he leaves. I was so blessed to be among the countless lives he touched. Cheers, Dr. Roger, and God bless.

In Memoriam, Dr. Roger Woodruff - International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care

August 9, 2021

Are we licensing enough doctors?

Let's assume for a moment that we'll need more doctors than we now have due to aging demographics and the incidence of chronic disease in America. Are we licensing enough doctors to keep up with demand? Well, we know we're not licensing all the medical school graduates.

"Match Day" is when medical school graduates are matched with available residencies at hospitals across the United States. The March 2021 Match Day resulted in 2,200 graduates from U.S. medical schools going without an assignment. In additional, 2,143 U.S. citizens who have graduated from foreign medical schools were not matched, along with 5,730 non-U.S. citizens. April 14, 2021 article in Medical Economics

Congress voted to fund 1,000 more residencies through CMS over the next five years. That's the first increase in CMS funding since 1997. Really? 

August 2, 2021

Public Frienemy #1 - Health care technology

Information technology in health care encompasses everything from wearing a blood pressure monitor on your wrist to millions of electronic health records (EHRs) floating around in cyberspace. Beckers' Hospital Review  gathered ten hospital executives and asked them what they considered the most concerning trends in health information technology.

Half of the ten health care execs named the rising risk and frequency of cyberattacksThat may mean an employee innocently opening a phishing email containing a virus (baby goats really are super cute!) to having a health care system's EHRs locked up by ransomware, while hackers await the payment of cash or cybercash.

266 million patient records have been exposed by cybersecurity attacks since HIPAA implemented its reporting requirement in 2009. What do health care's policy makers and stakeholders have planned to make our medical records more accurate and keep them secure? You'll find the answers in Chapter 14 of Patient or Pawn?.